Thursday, February 14, 2019

And a Happy Kinda Dauncey Valentines Day to You

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."   ... Jeremiah 29:11


Remember when Lucy Ricardo, before discovering she's pregnant, tells Ethel she's been feeling 'dauncey', her grandmother's word 'for when you're not really sick, but just feel lousy'?

Well, my Valentine's Day morning began that way. 

Man. I'd waited nearly 2 weeks for my coffee shop to open again after Amy's honeymoon--and then? Today I just didn't feel like going. (And according to Facebook they're serving my favorite muffin--brown sugar and cinnamon! Sigh.) 

Perhaps part of it is that yesterday our sump-pump died, flooding a corner of our basement, so I called our go-to plumbers, but only after I waded through the water and lugged stuff around to clear space for the guys. 

(Fortunately nothing was ruined since I'm a big believer in "Expect the best, but prepare for the worst," and long ago I'd placed everything upon plastic bins.) 

Of course, much hurrying up and down stairs, answering the phone, checking in with Tom, cleaning bits of the house and later mopping-up that basement corner (on my hands and knees; long story) was also involved. 

By nightfall I could barely move.

Oh and one of the plumbers didn't latch the storm door and one of many crazy wind gusts (it was this type of morning) --

---whipped the storm door open and snapped the spring-thingy at the bottom, busting it. Alas. But he was nice and I didn't throw a fit. 

Besides, at least I could tell Tom it wasn't my fault. (Tom gets kinda weird-panicky about only 3 things in Life: walking on ice, water damage in the house and broken storm doors. So oh boy, what a red letter day for him, too. heh. Actually, he handled it all really well.)

Anyway, this morning I played cafe at home (again) and slowly I'm--whew-- feeling better. The Luna bar and half-caff coffee (and bits of prayer) have helped--and the sun! The sun's gleaming for the first time in days.

And it's Valentine's Day! A day (as I see it) to appreciate friendships and also, my reminder that Winter cannot much longer sling his chilled darkness, snow and ice around.

Whew. Even with the disappointments of the past 24 hours (did I mention the sump pump had to be replaced to the tune of a few hundred dollars?)--

Life with God is still very good.
These 'glitches' could've been much worse.
I'm feeling more like my healthy self as the moments go by.

And this, too, shall pass. Want to make disasters out of small things?
 Forget that nothing on Earth lasts forever and then make permanent (disastrous) decisions about temporary problems.

Please never do that, ok?

Instead, ask God for His encouragement (best not to wait around for people to speak it), then believe for a future day which will mega-make-up for a rough present one.

God is especially good at creating marvelous future days--and giving us Himself and a strong hope in the meantime. 

You know, to sweeten all our days, good, bad or kinda dauncey.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you.” 

― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner


Oh! Now this movie-- The Bookshop-- certainly appears to have possibilities, right?


       Happy Valentine's Day to all you wonderful friends out there!

... and for those who mailed me Valentines, I do thank you with all my heart! Totally made my Valentines Day an extra special one (and helped make up for my not getting to the coffee shop).

Again, thanks so much!


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

When An Old Thing Feels Like a New Thing

“Behold, I am making all things new.”   ... Revelation 21:5


So finally I'm back and here simply to answer the eternal question: "Does the math they teach you in school even help later in Real Life?"

Yes. Yes, it does. ツ

See, for two weeks I've used more math (and had more near-headaches) than I'd had in, oh, three years. And mostly it's all Kathryn from Do It On a Dime's fault.

Due to her inspiration, I'm still reorganizing drawers and cupboards and suddenly half my life (it feels like) became one long math word problem.


You've got 22-inch shelves with a depth of 12 inches so how many baskets can you fit across them and what dimensions of the baskets do you need to buy? (And where can you purchase them and not explode your household budget?)


You want to add a cutlery tray to your desk drawer, but the height is less than 2 inches and they don't make those. So then you must search your house for boxes you can (measure and) cut down to size (boxes you'd love to spray-paint, but hey, it's snowing outside, Silly.)

So many notes! Scribbling! Numbers! 

Or that space in our bathroom where I'd love to place a cabinet/anything storage-related, but hours later, I discover just one thing in all of Internet Land that fits. 

Though yikes, the cost was nutso. But then God had mercy-- and led me to one that was $50 less(!) (And I'm not even mentioning Tom's portable living room table broke, so that means more specific dimensions I must search-out online.)

Yet oh, it becomes a wonderful mind-stretching adventure when I stop veering off Grace's track/schedule. It all works out somehow--when I move when she does and park it when Grace says, "Rest."

Also? God has this mysterious way of making old tasks feel new.Things we've done for 40 years can feel--if not exciting--then enough to make us all anticipatory of what can happen today on our specific, for-such-a-time-as-this journey. 

If we don't force things and keep working past Grace's cut off, thus becoming wild with frustration, especially when treating it all like a race we must win--or else.

How easy to go there, right? (And yeah, I visited there a couple times lately. er hem.)

Oh, but when we follow Grace--how sweet it is. The hours, days of our listening close to the One who knows us--and our future--best--

--that's how we'll enjoy the journey. On Grace's track, not our cattywampus Reasoning Track.

Today are you loving your life even before all your personal pesky ducks are swimming in a row? And even if maybe your head, too, is spinning with your own version of never-ending math problems?

I hope so. I pray so, for God has made ways for us to enjoy whatever needs to be done. And He can make it all feel new again--and us as well. 

No really, He can. He's just waiting for us to ask, to seek and to find Him in the quiet places. And to admit His ways are much higher (and better) than our own.

As we grow older God doesn't want us to become all been-there-done-that bored. Perhaps that's one reason He keeps making things feel new for us.

The birth of new knowledge begins with an admission of old ignorance." --- Orrin Woodward


A movie I can recommend? Dog Days. Not the type of film I'd normally watch, but on a Saturday, none of our tv shows had updated On Demand and we were desperate.  ツ

We both enjoyed it much.


Today I finished reading Scraps of Paper and these were two of my favorite lines--

"The asphalt road before her car was shimmering in the summer's heat and the steering wheel under her hands felt good. She was in search of a new life because the past was unchangeable, but the future wasn't."

From Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (via Kindle, where you'll still find it free, at least as of today.)


God, Himself, wants to lead us. Only He knows where we need to be.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

But What Did You Do With Your Disappointment?

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."... Philippians 4:6-7

"We can fight disappointment with gratitude."


Every Tuesday I walk over to the coffee shop.  Every. Single. Tuesday. 

All weekend I anticipate sitting at the formica table with real coffee, a muffin and (often) Michael Buble singing while I read or stare out the tall front windows at the river, sprawling hotel and houses.

The other two days I go, vary, but always you'll spy me in the window on Tuesdays.

Yet can I go today? Noooooo. Why not? Because Amy The Barista is on her honeymoon and the cafe will remain closed till Valentine's Day. By then, it will have been dark 10 whole business days(!)

Of course, hey. I'm thrilled for Amy down there in warm Florida (must be nice) with her new hubby, but what about meeeee?

Heh.  I'll tell you what about me. I'll play cafe here at home. 

Like this morning--I made pancakes (with leftover weekend batter) and coffee and sat at our dining room table before my own tall windows. It's crazy-grey outside, but the weak light pours in and I used my small table lamp. Vintage music played from my kitchen radio.

These crazy times in which we all live? I think we forget we still have choices.

We can choose to be bummed-out because the Times, they have changed (like, not for the better). Or we can use our imaginations and reliance upon God to create a darn nice life for ourselves.

Whiners miss out. Wimp out. Settle.
But creative types?  They tweak things, make versions of what they want--and have fun. 

Lately I've had to remind myself of this. For instance, Tom and I had planned (for years) to have a 'closet' built onto his room at the front of the house, so that--after he retires--his room could become more of a Man Cave. But then he spoke over the phone to a contractor who pretty much said, "It's gonna be way more complicated and expensive than you thought, Buddy."

(Unfortunately, Tom chose to tell me that bit of news while I had a sinus headache. We'll draw a curtain across how that went. Er hem.)

So. The plan has changed. Instead of adding on a closet we're considering making Tom's entire room a closet, rather like this--

He's even begun drawing-up plans, getting rid of things and considering who to call for professional help. (Ha, ha---no, not for his head.)  シ

And me? Besides the playing-cafe-at-home thing, I'm continuing to watch Do It On a Dime for more creative solution ideas, reorganizing drawers and cupboards using what I already have and also ordering some storage containers, as well--

--and reminding myself to be thankful for this sweet little house which God provided for us, the one in a perfect location but oh, if only it were a tad larger and had actual storage.....   ツ

Yes, it's a messy world out there, but oh Honey! That doesn't mean our own little worlds (or families or our heads) must also be a mess. No way.

After all, 'greater is He who is within us than he who is within this world of strife'.

We can still, even in 2019, create our own world, you know. Customize it. Make it the best it can be. Paint and build and fix what's broken or annoying. Use the gifts, courage and imagination God gave us to make the majority of it, well, wonderful. Not just for us, either, but for others who people our world.

Some friends tell me it's all impossible, but I shake my head and step away. Instead, I'm choosing to listen to Someone whose words I believe so much more.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."  ... Colossians 3:23

"When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in."

 --Kristin Armstrong


Seriously, Kathryn from Do It on a Dime amazes me. She's the only You-tuber who I've never fast-forwarded because she spoke too slowly or rambled down bunny trails. Nope. She's just right.  😏

And are my newly-organized drawers as adorable/neat/clever as Kathryn's?

Nah. But they make Tom and me happy--and that's what counts.

Oh, and while organizing, I've been listening to I Love Lucy and you know? Hours afterward, it feels like Lucy, Ethel, Ricky and Fred had actually been here at my house, if not helping, then keeping me company.

Weird, right?


Oh! And have you seen this new way of hanging curtains? Wow. Why didn't someone think of this sooner??


Friday, February 01, 2019

The One Thing That Makes Everything Worse

"Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door."   ... James 5:9

"Complain and remain, praise and be raised."   ... Joyce Meyer


So this week where I live, it's been The Ice Age.

Awaking to dark, frozen mornings.
Minus 4 degrees F. Winds bringing chills to -28 degrees.
A 21-car pile up. A 10 car jumble, too. (No one killed in those, though. Whew.)
A man found dead beside a still-running snow blower. Another beside a silent snow shovel. 
A well-known (and loved) homeless man found frozen on a bench.
Driving bans (illegal to drive) and over 1,100 businesses, closed.
Three additional deaths. People slipping, taken to hospitals. 

Some heavy-duty stuff there, but you know? I can handle those calmly, with an inner peace, comfort, from God, Himself.

But what gets ol' Debra's eyes rolling, her head spinning and her brain questioning what has this world become?


Our trash pick-up got pushed back 2 days, then last night it was announced that, unfortunately, we all must wait until next week to have our trash whisked away.

And then people whined. Like crazy. All at the helpful local Facebook volunteer news page which has been an information godsend to us all week------

" I guess it will stay at the curb!! Wish I had the information yesterday."

"Everybody in my neighborhood had their totes out today . We all must have missed that news announcement ."

"Not movin' mine."

"They better be prepared to take more than the two cans.. We're already full."

"Oh I’m waiting til next week with no recycling bin too cause y’all dropped the bin in the truck🤔 huh...let it all fill in my kitchen then I’m assuming."

"So, does the city get a rebate for non provided services? Some families need their trash picked up every week with the small can you are limited to. I doubt they will suddenly take extra trash that doesn’t fit in the can!"

"Wow, it's just a matter of time we gotta drag them to the nearest corner and retrieve them ourselves come warmer weather. Look at the gas and manpower they could save huh?"

Oh. My. Goodness. Seriously, People?

Now, thankfully, the majority of my fellow Western New Yorkers are not such big whiners, but really? Reading these this morning reminded me that many people today (everywhere) are--

Lazy not likely to do what's 'extra'. Not into excellence of character.
Without wisdom. Not planning ahead.
Unprepared for emergencies.
Not considering others' hardships (i.e. the trash collectors working in -28 degree windchills)
Relying on the government and others to do things for them.
Living in a dream world which doesn't exist--and then complaining all the time when the real world disappoints them.

Let's all, as Christians, be different, ok? Let's sling away that 'luxury' of complaining, for, after all, a huge God lives inside us. A God who is --

Full of mercy toward others.

And a God who expects more from us because He's given us more.

And the good news? He's made a way to make us more like Him--if--with all our hearts, we seek to know Him better.

And to be a bright, gleaming light in this dark, cold world, one which need not become dimmer by that weak, sorry spirit of complaining--

--if we'll seek His ways, first. 

"Do not grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer."   ... 1 Corinthians 10:10  (Debra here-- there is more than one way to be destroyed, you know. Becoming weaker, bitter, less-than-what-we-could-have-been are examples.)

And if we'd remember this--

---maybe we'd stop hating people (which God majorly frowns upon) and begin praying powerful prayers which actually accomplish what He desires for this Earth.

(Not sure if hating people is a big deal? Go here.)


Yes, I love original retro decor, but these Decorating Trends for 2019 are pretty cool!


Another very favorite Christmas gift? Concerning Casey.  (Read about it here.)  

Written in 1958, it's not your typical 'malt shoppe' book, but rather, a great reminder that Today's world isn't the only one where otherwise-nice folks behave badly regarding politics.

Sometimes we forget that some people, throughout History, have chosen the low road when they wanted something political with all their heart.

(In other words, it didn't just start in the 2000's.)

Great news! You can read Concerning Casey free at Open Library

(Don't you just love that place? Last week I read a vintage book there which Amazon had just one copy, selling for $145!)


"To whom much was given, of him much will be required..."  ... Luke 12:48

"I’m praying for a generation that’s just as willing to tangibly sacrifice for others, as they are ready to speak up."---BJ Thompson